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Copyright and Antitrust Issues

Giovanni Ramello ()

LIUC Papers in Economics from Cattaneo University (LIUC)

Abstract: This paper examines the relationships between copyright and competition law, paying special attention to the elements of conflict which have repeatedly emerged from recent antitrust cases in both the United States and Europe. In particular, the thesis argued is that the framework of intellectual property rights is crucial to antitrust evaluations because of the deterministic relation which exists between property rights on the one hand, and market structure and modes of competition on the other. In consideration of this relationship, it will be shown that several purportedly anti-competitive behaviours are in reality of an ambiguous character when considered within the system of incentives defined by copyright. What is more, given that copyright is essentially a calculated restriction on competition introduced by legislators to correct a specific market failure (i.e., creation of a sub-optimal level of copyrightable works), it then becomes quite difficult to pursue anti-competitive behaviours in a manner consistent with the nature of copyright and the incentives system. The work also shows how scholars are confronted with a structural weakness in the economic theory, vis-à-vis the current needs of antitrust enforcement in markets regulated by copyright. This weakness is probably attributable to the fact that the theory principally grew out of a study of the structure and dynamics of the manufacturing industries, and has therefore produced analysis tools geared to that particular context. However such tools are not ideally suited to the markets of information goods protected by copyright, which have modes of competition that differ substantially from those of the sectors which produce tangible goods.

Pages: 26 pages
Date: 2002-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-com, nep-cul, nep-ind and nep-law
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